Ermyas T. Amelga, Businessman




Ermyas T. Amelga, Businessman

Overambitious

What Happened:

 

Ermyas T. Amelga, the business mogul behind many creative business enterprises, including Access Capital Services and Access Real Estate, joined the spotlight after homebuyers from the later, wherein he served as CEO, flocked to courts dismayed with the mismatch between promises and delivery. As the face of the company, Ermyas was the first person to be condemned by the disappointed homebuyers. The failure of Access Real Estate to even start meaningful construction of the houses on the plots of land that it owns sits at the heart of the problem. Even if the company promised homebuyers to a compensation for every month of delay, the scheme could not be realised effectively due to liquidity problems. Checks signed by Ermyas for homebuyers who wanted their money back started to bounce, initiating a bank-run like liquidity crunch of the company. After a brief detainment over bounced check, Ermyas went abroad and remained in self-exile. The over-2000 homebuyers have started to restructure the company in a way that could provide it with a lifeline.

 

When It Happened:

 

Disputes over the case started on early 2013. Of course, individual disappointments used to be heard in the power corners of Addis Abeba even before that. Some cases had also been filed to courts. But the collective actions had begun on early 2013. March 2013 saw the bloods of home buyers boiling even higher. They eventually swarmed the offices of the company on mid-March. Since then, the various committees of home buyers are having meetings to bring the case to the attention of policymakers.

 

Milestone:

 

Ermyas come back toEthiopiafrom US in 1990s. His early investment entails the acquisition of Edget, a state-owned edible oil factory.  He, then, changed the factory in to a bottled water company – named Apex Bottling – in partnership with two Americans. Royal Crown was the brand name he introduced to the market through Apex. The brand later was changed to Highland Water, a strategy that Ermyas adopted to circumvent the negative publicity over Royal Crown. Access Capital Services, Access Real Estate, and Zemen Bank are some of the corporate brainchildren of Ermyas.

 

Hotspot:

 

Ermyas’ career as a businessman is full of events. In 1990s, his bottled water company – Apex Bottling – faced a negative publicity that relates the product to Addis Abeba’s sewerage disposal system. Later in his career, he faced disputes within Zemen Bank, which relate to improper procedures during the election of board members, eventually leading to his expulsion from the board. An accounting malpractice identified by the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) later led to the barring of the business mogul from serving in the broad of any of financial institutions in the country. The latest saga involves the dispute between Access Real Estate, where Ermyas was a CEO, which eventually resulted in his expulsion from his post and his self-exile.

 

Personal Highlight: :

 

Ermyas is a father of five. He is said to be persuasive. His creative approach to doing business is often taken as exemplary by many local businessmen. He is also said to be overambitious.

In Hindsight:

 

The total amount of money that Access Real Estate has collected from the over-2000 home buyers is said to be about 1.3 billionBr.



Published on Sep, 08, 2013 [ Vol 14 ,No 697]


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